At this point, the ideal climate bill is out of the picture. Here are two ways to make sense of Democrats’ next move.

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Welcome, all. We are gathered here today to mourn Build Back Better, President Joe Biden’s overstuffed and too ambitious domestic-policy package.

It had its flaws, of course. We all do. But I am not here to dwell upon any of those. I wish, instead, to speak only of BBB’s climate provisions, because, had the bill passed, it would have been the most aggressive action against climate change we have ever seen from Congress.

Build Back Better would have prevented more than 5 billion tons of carbon pollution from entering the atmosphere, according to an analysis by a team of researchers led by Jesse Jenkins, a Princeton engineering professor. Those emissions reductions would have made up more than 90 percent of America’s commitment under the Paris Agreement, allowing the country to nearly cut its annual emissions in half, compared with their all-time high, by 2030.

Yet it is no more. Build Back Better perished in December, the victim of a sneak attack by Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Congress is not going to pass it. Democrats who spent years salivating over a bill like Build Back Better should forget about it. It will never become law.

I raise this morbid point because at some point in the next week or two, Senate Democrats are probably going to release a new reconciliation bill. This slimmed-down package is still largely a mystery, but it could include up to $300 billion for climate and energy provisions, according to NBC News. The working assumption is that the provisions, which might include clean-energy tax credits or manufacturing support, will resemble moderated—if not Manchin-ified—versions of some key parts of Build Back Better. (There’s a reason that Senator Mitt Romney quipped that this new effort should be called “Build Back Manchin.”)

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